Friday, November 25, 2011

KOF XIII Review Part 2 - Orochinagi Ediiton -

Welcome to part II of my ongoing coverage regarding KOF XIII. In this article, it is directed towards the longtime fans (the ones let down by XII) But fear not friends, XIII brings KOF back with a vengeance. And honestly its better than SFIV.

Gameplay modes - Although there are many, its easy to access all of the sub-menus. There may be a loading logo at the bottom right, but it doesn't last very long. Or during matches, its a quick start up and go. Btw I advise any one playing this game to save it to your hard drive. It makes things so much better, and less waiting time.

Controls are quick on the fly, every button press is touch sensitive. Including the D-pad (for those hardcore ones out there  I'm sure you're playing with an arcade stick, hopefully the patch comes out soon for improvements to allow you fun characters to play. Try out the tutorial in case you are not familiar with the adapted setup, it may seem overkill to learn but in fact its worth it. You might be surprised how robust the adapted Drive Cancels really are.  Including the NeoMAX or as we longtime fans love to call them HDM. Explore the different power modes, in fact there are five! I know its crazy, but you will get used to it after awhile, its a lot like breathing.

For those worried about visuals, need not be concerned. Presentation is excellent! The character designs are sharp (actually sharper than XII) The "Zoom" happens when your character unlocks their HDM move and lets their opponent have a fresh serving of pain. It also happens during other special moves, which is a neat feature because it was rare to see the in-game camera focus on a variety of moments. Here it does just that, the character even gives a "wink" to the player when the move is pulled off. Just watch, you'll see. **And I'm sure many know by now of the classic KO specials towards King and Yuri. That aside, the characters actually react more towards their health bar dropping, listen to the audio cues (this is something that really surprised me).

Btw for those longtime fans, the character designs remind me of the CG style we all grew up with in FF and AOF. I am surprised just how much detail went into every movement. From defensive, to offensive, and even when the character stands still. Another hidden detail is from the "burst" mode is that every attack attains a more zen-like quality where you gain full control of the HDSM's without a hiccup. The NeoMax attacks are unleashed full force, and can be controlled until the very last hit. (or an ongoing combo can be made up until the opponent "kisses the earth").

For you newcomers, we're glad to have you with us. Practice, and learn well. And to everyone just have a ball playing this excellent game. I admit it, XIII beats SFIV anyday. Sorry Capcom but you've been beaten by KOF to this gamers heart. *wink*

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The King of Fighters XIII Review

King of Fighters XIII Review
Release date: 11/22/11 Worldwide
Dev and Publishers: SNK Playmore and Atlus USA
Online capable
PS3 and XBOX360

Let’s Get Started! -
Welcome to a new installment of KOF fellow gamer. This review will be covering many different aspects of the newest chapter in the long running series. From mode: to changes, and a comparison towards another series.

Show me your moves! -
KOFXIII brings in series regulars from Team Japan, to Team Iori (with two fellow ladies whom many fans will recognize). Taking a page from where XII missed its mark, XIII makes up for its losses and delivers an entirely different experience than past games. Featuring several bonus EX modes, including NeoMax, and Hyperdrive. In fact a lot of these concepts were adapted from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting.

For the newbies, this means that whatever move you use (as in special attacks) can double cancel, and include a secondary or third attack making it more powerful. In fact, some of the classic Desperation moves are now remixed into the Neomax (or Berserk!) moves. When used these attacks fill up the screen with colors that nullify an opponent’s ability to counterattack. (There are in fact, more than 4 different types of attacks, practice learning everyone’s skills) Plus it appears that the team member “switch on the fly’ option has been taken away. This was from KOF2k3, so at will you could change partner’s mid-fight. Now it’s back to the original setup of one-on-one until your opponent drops to the ground.

Press Start! –
There is a helpful tutorial available for newcomers, or classic players. At first the “jump” takes some getting used to, even the EX moves require you to take them to mid-air cancels. Keep trying, and you’ll get the hang of it. Within KOFXIII, every character has adapted with the new setup, but its also faster and no longer lags input. So every button press goes along with the players timing. For those button mashers out there, you’ve met your match!

Arcade – select your team, and get going!
Story – Find out why Ash took on this dark quest (includes the option of playing any team, and taking on all challengers throughout the in-game story).
Mission – Time Attack (obtain the best time while taking on opponents) , Survival, and Trial (master different move lists, and learn some new combos)
Gallery – Play through each mode to unlock some bonus goodies, from artwork, movies, and music.

Online – According to friends on the lovely interwebs, many have said mixed things about the online play. Some may experience good bouts with other players, or sometimes unplayable match ups. It all depends on players’ internet connection. Btw you can also setup a team ready to go for online matches.
And setup custom colors for your favorite characters. (you can also unlock more color palettes, the more you play that specific character)

Music to my Ears – The in-game soundtrack is a electric romp of sounds that KOF is known for. Plus some tunes contain remixes of past tunes, giving them a new spin. For those who pre-ordered the game, we were treated to a collection of four cd’s that contain tracks from past games. Featuring tunes in their original arcade sound format, and some with arrange mixes. The fourth cd is the track list from KOFXIII, and it is something definitely worth listening to. You won’t be disappointed with this awesome assortment of tunes.

The Long Road Ahead -
Overall, KOFXIII is an awesome game that must not be missed. Although it has some tough competition, anyone who enjoys 2D fighters should pick this one up right away. On the plus side, this is KOF in its finest form, challenging, fun, and engaging. You will not be disappointed.

Websites of knowledge!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rhythmic Harmonies

For awhile I have been visiting Hardcore Gaming 101, a site which catalogs every title in existence that has been a pivotal (and some titles that we want to forget). But what makes it worth visiting, and reading any article is the writing style. Something I find myself lacking, and I strive to push myself to improve on. Because I would love to send a few articles, and it could be fun to see them highlighted on a well known site. I did some collaborations in the past with Castlevania Dungeon, and OCRemix some time ago. Its been so long I feel out of touch.

In that regard, my new push in writing would be to emphasize or wax poetically about Bayonetta. An underdog in the gaming market, made by talented group that produced some fantastic pieces of visual storytelling and music.

I have been giving it some thought as to how I could pursue writing about a vast title. Its not one subject, but it covers a bit of gaming history. Both in design, and ideas (where it borrowed tons, and gave kind regards to its humble past).

Right now, my college classes are winding down. So I might get started on this project very soon. Just thought I'd share the idea here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sonic Generations - 24 hours later

Sonic Generations – 24 Hours after review

Many years ago, I was one of the millions of fans who grew up with a blue hedgehog. Sure all the rage was about Sonic vs the Plumber, who could outdo the other was all the talk back in kindergarten all the way to high school. I never thought it would carry over in my adult life, but it has and that is something worth sharing. But enough about the past, actually that’s what Generations is built off of. Sonic past meets Sonic from the future in a cross-over no one thought possible. (But I will hint this lovely gem was being planned nearly ten years ago, but the team wasn’t 100% sure the hardware could keep up.) After years of waiting, a little dream has finally come true.

Press Start -
Here I am listening to the “Green Hill Zone” theme from the in-game music library. I remember first hearing this tune from the original Sonic game. Here’s the honest truth, everything fans have ever wanted, or loved is within this game. I remember meeting a few friends that actually played a part in this soundtrack, one of them happens to be Jun Senoue, a long time musician who in the past stepped in for another composer. Only to take a chance at actually being at the helm of a game like no other.

One major thing this game contains in a great way is energy, there is no denying that Sonic Team recognized what fans wanted to play, a mixture of old and new ideas. From the get-go, you get to explore Green Hill Zone as Classic Sonic, braving pitfalls, speed traps and a ton of badniks all over a retouched map of the original stage. Then right after, you take control of Modern Sonic flying across the same level, only to take over in a blaze of speed daring the sound barrier. One word = Wow!

*Extra easter egg note: GHZ was the unlockable level in Sonic Adventure 2 once you obtained all A ranks in the stages. What made it unique was the freedom of bopping around GHZ in a different perspective. Flashback to now..

Listen to the Music – One can never forget every harmony they’ve listened to. Once we hear it, its stuck with us forever. Within the Generations music library, or stage are retouched and original tunes from past entries (with various surprises). What’s even more fun, is that once you unlock more tunes in the music library, you can also change the bgm track in the stage you decide to play.

*Bonus goodie! Songs are also collectible once you’ve completed a challenge stage.

D-Pad – Movement within a 2D or 3D world has always been tricky with the Sonic series. But it wasn’t the case with the original series. Ever since we’ve hit the 3D plane, being able to fly across a level was never easy. (Sonic 06 is a perfect example of how not to collide with every obstacle) Here in Generations, Sonic Team has taken the fans battle cry, and accepted what they’ve done wrong. Controls are smooth like butter, with whichever version of Sonic you are playing. There all done.

Where did my rings go? – All of the classic gaming mechanics we know or loathe are also brought back. From the simple jump, homing attack, spin dash, drift, and ring dash. (*Bonus maneuvers are also buyable from the upgrade shop)  And the scariest sound you never wanted to hear.. “drowning”. Yup its back.

Where’s the goodies? – Once you explore every nook and cranny, you can unlock many more items throughout the game. From art, to music, movies, and many more trinkets. Plus you can upgrade either Sonic with new techniques. And a game that started it all.
Challenges are playable once you’ve played through a specific stage. From time attacks, rival fights, and so much more.  Boss fights = a chaos emerald

Sonic Generations is an amazing game. Fans of the past, or present will want this in their gaming library.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One More Ring

Here I am, in the college library listening to the OST that seems to have found itself within youtube.
That aside, I love the music I will get to hear once I get home. Sadly it won't be for another 4 hours.
Waiting is always worth it. Generations looks to be a fun little treasure.

*I can't say much more about that, because well that would spoil more fun surprises.
Seeing the music being shared like wildfire is something. But hey there is more to the story. More to share next time, and a review.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Generations - Day 0

Sonic Generations is one of the best kept secrets for the past ten years. To be honest, many fans knew of some surprise that could happen yet not exactly how it would unfold. There were some rumors if both the original and the newer Sonic could ever originate in the same universe. Like Doctor Who (whom was able to interact with his former selves) the idea came to mind. And thus Generations was born. How long ago? Ten years.. this actually was said to be Adventure 3, but it was meant to be locked away for ten years, the time wasn't quite right.

Sonic CD was one of the most scrutinized titles to date. If a parallel world could co-exist, how could the original converge a journey with the present? Thus the question is answered, Generations is that exact tale. The aftermath of the Time Stones unlocked the Little Planet's polarity setting things right. However Colors journey was the exact opposite, those creatures were the basis of the stones in elements of said colors (now the unveiled Dimensions) title to be part of WiiU's library.
Now for the music of the past.. that was by far the toughest obstacle for Sega to get over. For a long time many of the rights were lost after Sega folded as a third party. Just like a music producing company, they would need to buy all the rights, titles, and tracks to create a full release. (which many fans have demanded ever since the original CD was released) versus the European to Japanese soundtrack. At present we have a new rendition on arrival which makes me wonder how it may be loved or disliked.

Awhile back many of us fans received a fun bundle of goodies for the tenth anniversary. A blue box with a booklet, etched coin, and embossed cd. I have yet to actually play that cd again sometime soon. But within that booklet was a revised tale of how the character came to be. It was a welcome gift to what's next tomorrow (or today for our overseas friends).

Happy birthday Blue Buddy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Replay - Sonic the Hedgehog 06

In celebration of the "True Blue's" birthday, I thought about replaying 2k6, not only to refresh myself. But gain a better understanding why so many dislike its finished input.

1) Glitches = There are plenty, but they can be overcome with enough patience.
But it doesn't break the game for me, which I never felt like it made the game unplayable.
Its what reminds me of Tomb Raider, it just needed more polish. Yet it is as awesome experience.

2) Music = Quite possibly the most ethereal soundtracks within the entire series
After playing through Sonic's chapter, I have been listening to a variety of stage BGM's.
Honestly I never listened to the music through headphones before. Wow.

3) How it ends = Every character holds their own, even in the final segment.
Actually I think 2k6 got this strange "time" ball rolling. And here we are again in 2011, revisiting the "time" aspect. With a variety of game titles using it as a gameplay mechanism all over again.

Just felt like writing after a crazy week. My mom was in the hospital due to a drug reaction for pain beta blockers. Thankfully she is doing way better and @ home. ^_^

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The next route ahead

Greetings if anyone reads this blog much. Just thought I'd share a mini update.
Currently waiting on King of Fighters XIII, and Sonic Generations

I haven't played KOF since 2k3, so I have some catching up to do. Heard XII was so-so.
I have faith that thirteen may be a driving force again.

Sonic Generations looks insanely promising, mixing the old with the new. Including the timeline paradigm shift, so anything that can, will happen. Worlds crossing over, and its a race to save time itself.
Sorta feels like Doctor Who all of a sudden. ^^;

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bayonetta After Climax (mini post)

After my recent play through on easy, I dared to take on Normal Mode. What a dark surprise, the game gets a bit more challenging. But I did obtain several techniques and other extras. Something to look forward to.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mini Review: Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions

When Spider-man / Peter Parker made the choice to become a hero, it was because of his Uncle's death that lead his destiny. But its when a villain takes all of his choices away, the destiny of four other Spiders must align to change their timeline and save their worlds.

Shattered Dimensions is a mixed title, a platformer, beat-em up, and a first person adventure. (and dare I say boxing) that part comes later. As a platformer, its a traditional from point a to b design, until you wind up smack dab taking on obstacles, and a various assortment of roller coaster rides. SD is unlike any other game in the franchise, altogether it is a refreshing take on the Spider-man series (it even rivals Batman Arkham Asylum, or so I have been told).

Control setup is fluid, and is quick as a dime. Plus it doesn't have to be memorized, as you are able to gain new abilities, what you gain gives your chosen Spidey a bit more inertia than before. Therein unlockables are plenty, from choosing new attacks, to health, and spidey sense upgrades. In addition, costumes are also a neat extra. Plus the difficulty levels vary, from Easy, to Normal, and Hard.
Oh and of course this game is filled with plenty of easter eggs. If you missed picking up this title when it came out, do yourself a favor and snag a friendly copy.

Those who are waiting for the next chapter "Edge of Time" definitely need to play this game first. As it unravels a lot more than one storyline, but the consequences of the ongoing comic series currently running.
Bonus goodie #1 in issue #500, Peter experiences a "what if" dream state that he is in the pouring rain, about me arrested by police. Adoring a jacket very closely resembling the Noir Spider-man.
#2 Many of the villains are from the Sinister Six
#3 And before the Ultimate Spidey's untimely shift in gears
#4 2099 is a reflection of what could be... Edge of Time we experience things from the future's perspective because of the outcome in Peter's choice herein Shattered Dimensions.
And the current comics storylines are also being crossed with this really intense series... so who knows where things may go next.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After hearing about a certain film series, I checked out the trilogy. Due to homework, I never got a chance to watch them since I found them from the library. Watched the first film with my parents, oddly enough its not your typical murder mystery / hush-hush film. Wait the library?! Holy..

So onto the first film, at first you follow some journalists integrity downfall. Only to be held by a lock of 2 months to find out if there was some truth. Enter Lisbet (a gothic) firecracker who is a bit of a mystery herself. This film is very dark, entangled with more twists than most American films right now. (and lots of risque moments that will make any viewer cringe)

I understand I may be a bit behind, but this film is not easy to find. That aside, its definitely a film series worth watching. Going to view part 2 later today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So we are Psy-ing

So far Psychology has been ongoing, honestly I feel like I'm learning something from the class.
A bit in regards to the hefty book that covers the subject. And some insight from the instructor towards some of the subject at least most of the time. But most of the class feels a bit set aside, cruising along. Thing is I never let stuff get to me too much, but there's definitely a lot of kinetic energy. Gotta run

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dark of the Moon

Just made it home, after seeing Transformers 3. Honestly, I must admit its a bit better than "Revenge of the Fallen". Less examination from the humans, and more from our friends the Autobots & Decepticons. History collides with the future, and a huge roller-coaster ride takes it into overdrive.

On the plus side, Sam does redeem himself for recognition. Even though by dire means, and finding a new lady (I still miss Megan though). Plus a certain leading actor plays a perfect villain, (I won't spoil, but its definitely worth seeing). Oh and a must to check this out in theaters, don't wait for the dvd. Catch it on its matinee' run =D

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking deeper

After beginning my psychology 101 course, I found out a few things about myself.
1) I do not connect with everyone
2) I find myself in a conversation with a select few classmates.
3) Most of them being of the opposite gender
4) I am starting to understand how Psy relates to the medical practice I'm heading towards.

Just a few keynotes I thought would be fun to share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Re-examine a hedgehog

Just this past Monday, I started taking Psychology as a pre-requisite class towards my major being Massage Therapy. And it made me wonder, about the color grade concept. For the longest time I've wondered if Sonic the Hedgehog was intentionally made "blue". According to some studies, the color "blue" is stimulation, or free-spirit, always in motion.

Ever since I found myself interested in the medium of video games. Colors were always meant to express the development team's thoughts. What makes a hero? Or a villain? Since day one, the blue hedgehog was always non-stop, while a human (wearing a definitive red outfit, and boots) donning a menacing mustache and grin.

I may have found my subject for a final paper, although it may seem a bit off-beat going with a discussion towards a video game character's color concept. Maybe it might be worth trying, since I do have a lot to say about the topic.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bayonetta Review

Review – Bayonetta
System(s) – PS3 / Xbox360
Produced by: Platinum Games / Hideki Kamiya
Rated – M (for mature)

Torn between two worlds: heaven & earth, angels & demons, limbo is not what it’s cracked up to be. This is where B, our heroine is placed: a world of wonder, history, and darkness. Being one of the “lost witches”, he vows to right the wrongs that have been made onto those in the past. Meanwhile facing enormous odds against those: from upon high, and below. Welcome to a tale, of magic, action, suspense, and mystery unlike any other.

Bayonetta’s tale is told through chapters “Verses”. And as your mission unfolds, you will find lost books that unveil the history of the torn worlds, including: enemies, and bosses encountered, and weaponry.
In-game money is composed of an item called “Halo’s”, the rings that are above the angels’ heads. Gather up enough, and drop by “The Gates of Hell”, and visit with the cheerful shop owner. At the “Gates of Hell”, items for health, weapons, and special moves can be purchased here. Another neat feature within B’s quest is the option of being able to compose mixtures of compounds. Items found within each chapter, can be fused to create health & magic items. Master these well, and you will find a diverse collection of goodies whenever you need them.

Each “Verse” unfolds B’s tale from start to finish, finding old friends, to meeting old enemies from days long ago. Character dialog is given a unique touch, from B’s “sassy” attitude, to Jeanne’s “angst”, and much more. Even the villains you come across have their own personality. From angels, to watchdogs, and a few beasts that dislike a pretty face wanting to make them eat dirt.

Bayonetta’s in-game soundtrack is an: exciting, diverse, energetic, and psychotic. B’s background tunes are just about everywhere, from jazz, rock, to electronica. Plus there are a few hidden Easter egg tracks that are waiting to be found. Depending on the situation surrounding both B & the player, the music will shift to a darker tone until a health item is used. Boss themes are composed of power, and strength, versus the lovely lady’s opposing attitude, which mixes well during boss fights. (Think of Jet Set Radio Future’s song playlist, which shifted during your escapades around town)

Controls within B’s adventure are simply setup, but can be changed whenever the player decides. On the plus side, the controls are timely pressed (for QTE events) which work seamlessly. Plus there is an alternative reaction, for moments such as torture attack, versus boss, and escaping obstacles. (1) Torture Attack = aka “pushing buttons” This mode is active once B has delivered enough damage towards enemies nearby, thus delivering the final blow (or crush, smash, or ripping a black hole to summon an entity). (2) Boss fight(s) – Player versus enemy, the classic finale to every stage. But in this game, some enemies make a comeback, depending on how well B delivers blows. Once a foe’s ass is kicked to bits, the finish is a lovely QTE that involves a descriptive finishing move that requires timed button presses to earn, and receive extra “halos”. (3) Obstacles are a classic platformers’ best friend, or worst enemy. In B’s case, it’s a mix of the two, consisting of monumental getaways (close to Indiana Jones). This mode happens rarely often, but once it’s active get ready to run!! (And watch out for baddies that make your getaway a headache, ignore them and keep going!)

Before we wrap us this review, I must give kudos to a friend of mine, Leigh Alexander. A writer that delivers: knowledge, wit, wisdom, and downright awesome. Leigh introduced me to the game Bayonetta, by way of her writing. Be sure to read some of her diverse works @
(This review is a must read, it may open your mind on how to take a game, not so seriously)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Music in My Soul

So the Grammys are 2 weeks away (where did the time go?)

Turns out a lot of familiar names might not be receiving kudos this time around. But one in particular actually is receiving an awesome nomination... his first!

Although I may love every genre out there, electronica / dance / techno has always been thought to be "thump-da-da-da--thump-dee=da=do". One ongoing beat, akin to "Ace of Base" which were notorious for the most insane idea to make a song. But hey they had to make a buck.
(note AoB was an example, but they honestly had something going there)

In the mid 90's a young fellow by the unknown name of BT hit the scene. From Deep Dish (not the pizza) but an actual production team, BT was the third musketeer. From then on, he kept going, producing new idea(s) taken from his childhood, being creative and making music come to life like never before. It wasn't your typical "house" or "trance" sound either, but an ecletic plethora of sounds you would never expect to be embraced in song.

Learn more of his phenomenal story @